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The Private Life of Plants:
A Natural History of Plant Behaviour
David Attenborough

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1996

Hardcover | 1995 | This edition is out of print | ISBN: 9780691006390


Based on the immensely popular six-part BBC program that aired in the United States during the fall of 1995, this book offers what writer/filmmaker David Attenborough is best known for delivering: an intimate view of the natural world wherein a multitude of miniature dramas unfold. In the program and book, both titled The Private Life of Plants, Attenborough treks through rainforests, mountain ranges, deserts, beaches, and home gardens to show us things we might never have suspected about the vegetation that surrounds us. With their extraordinary sensibility, plants compete endlessly for survival and interact with animals and insects: they can see, count, communicate, adjust position, strike, and capture. Attenborough makes the plant world a vivid place for readers, who in this book can enjoy the tour at their own pace, taking in the lively descriptions and nearly 300 full-color photos showing plants in close detail.

The author reveals to us the aspects of plants' lives that seem hidden from view, such as fighting, avoiding or exploiting predators or neighbors, and struggling to find food, increase their territories, reproduce themselves, and establish their place in the sun. Among the most amazing examples, the acacia can communicate with other acacias and repel enemies that might eat their leaves, the orchid can impersonate female wasps to attract males and ensure the spreading of its pollen, the Venus's flytrap can take other organisms captive and consume them. Covering this remarkable range of information with enthusiasm and clarity, Attenborough helps us to look anew at the vegetation on which all life depends and which has an intriguing life of its own. He has created a book sure to please the plant lover and any other reader interested in exploring the natural world.


"The Private Life of Plants has already been viewed by 60 million Britons....And they stayed riveted for...five weeks to watch plants digest mice alive, strangle their hosts, trick male bees into copulating with their flowers, or ignite forest fires with chemicals to give their seedlings a better start in life. Vivid lives of hectic, electrifying action emerged, and even the hundreds of botanists consulted for the series found themselves gaining new insights into plant behavior."--Time (International Edition)

Other Princeton books by David Attenborough:

A selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club
A selection of the Natural Science Book Club
A selection of the Garden Book Club

File created: 1/4/2017

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